Family Camping at a KOA

Today I have a guest post from Lisa at Me and My Mom Friends!  Her family loves to camp and she wanted to share with us her experience family camping at a KOA in Michigan!  I watched an episode of Undercover Boss once that featured KOA and it made me actually want to camp.  Those who know me know I’m NOT a camper, but my poor husband is.  Maybe Lisa can convince me to try out a KOA this summer!  Check out her post!

Family Camping at a KOA

Hey everyone! Let me introduce myself. My name is Lisa and I am a mom blogger. You can find me at! I am a wife, and a mom to a wonderful energetic 3-year-old boy. My husband and I are very outdoorsy, and couldn’t wait to take our son camping. We finally decided to take the plunge when he was 2.5.

We knew that we wanted to go away for a week, and that tent camping for that long would be equivalent to torture with even the best 2-year-old. So, we decided to look for an option that would both be convenient and easy, and still provide that “camping” and “outdoorsy” atmosphere. We settled on a KOA Campground.

Lisa C Family Photo

Why We Chose a KOA

We chose a KOA Campground for several reasons. First of all, we liked that we had choices for where to stay. You can choose to go tent camping, or RV camping, or rent a cabin. They offer a variety of cabins of different sizes to accommodate smaller or larger groups.

Another benefit was that KOA Campgrounds are designed for families. While each one will offer different amenities, they are all geared toward a family friendly experience. They also have events and activities going on all the time to keep everyone busy.


This time when we took our family camping at a KOA we chose to stay in a cabin, because our son was only 2. He still took naps, and drinks milk like it’s his job. The cabins provided a temperature controlled environment with amenities like a microwave and mini fridge. Also, it had a bathroom which was a big bonus in my book.

The cabin we chose to stay in slept up to 6. It had a full-sized bed, twin bunk beds, and a futon. The kitchen was stocked with plates and utensils and even a small electric stove top. We also had a bathroom with a shower. We also had a television, which took us by surprise, but came in handy for keeping our little monster entertained in the morning while we woke up and got ready for the day.

The cabin itself was basically one room with an attached bathroom. It wasn’t huge, but more than enough room for our small family. We were only ever in there to sleep. Another huge benefit was that it had both heat and air conditioning. As an adult, I can deal, but toddlers tend not to handle crazy temperatures as well. We went in June in Michigan, but had a cold spell and needed our heater the first night.

KOA cabin inside

Activities and Features

The campground we chose was an awesome spot for families because of all the activities and features it offered. There was a nice little swimming lake with a beach. There was a separate lake for fishing. You could also rent paddle boats and canoes on that lake.

KOA Lake Fun

There was also a huge water slide that the kids could ride. My son was too little to go by himself, but he and my husband has a blast going down it together…about 500 times that week.

They had a playground area for kids, which kept out little guy busy. There was an area for smaller children and an area for bigger kids.

Throughout the days, the campground staff would announce activities available for campers to participate in. Some examples include a sandcastle building contest, basketball games, and sidewalk chalk drawings.

The campground also had a snack bar and a store for any items you may need.

What to Bring

When you take your family camping at a KOA you will want to make sure to pack food and drinks for the entire family. Have a plan for breakfast, lunch, and dinner ahead of time. Adults tend to be more flexible, but toddlers can be picky with food. I also recommend bringing plenty of snacks. All the activity tends to make you and your children hungrier than usual.

Bring condiments. These tend to be forgotten items when packing for a trip like this. I find its best to have a basic meal plan so you know what extras you need to bring. Usually I make sure to bring ketchup, mustard, mayo, and seasoning for burgers or steaks.

family camping at KOA with kids

Bring your cooking gear. Depending on what type of camping or cooking you’re doing, your needs will vary. We had a charcoal grill.  So we needed charcoal, lighter fluid, matches, aluminum foil, and tongs. We also had a fire pit, so we made sure to bring skewers for roasting marshmallows, and hobo pie makers.

Bring linens. You will want to make sure you have linens and pillows for the beds. Sheets, pillow cases, and blankets are a must!

Pack a wide variety of clothing. When you are camping, weather can be unpredictable. You will want to make sure you have enough warm weather clothing, and cold weather clothing to get you through your trip. My list includes, sandals, sneakers, socks, pants, shorts, t-shirts, and hoodies.

If your child is not yet potty trained, make sure to bring enough diapers, wipes, and swim diapers to get you through the time you are there.

You will want to bring towels. Make sure to pack bath towels, as well as beach towels. If you’re diligent about hanging towels up after use, you can get away with one of each per person for several days.

Make sure you bring things to keep the kids busy!

Toys for the kids. You probably don’t need to pack the whole play room. I recommend some smaller toys that your child favors to keep them busy while you are cooking or showering or having your morning coffee.

Beach toys are a must if you will be camping somewhere with beach access. Kids will want to have something to play with in the sand.

Camping with beach toys

I also recommend bringing a soccer ball or football or something similar for the kids to play outside with. My son used his soccer ball to make friends. He was only 2 so he didn’t have the best communication skills. He figured out if he kicked his soccer ball toward some kids, they would end up playing with him.

Other essentials include garbage bags, paper towels, wet wipes, bug spray, sunscreen, life jackets, water toys, phone chargers, a power strip, and toiletries.

Other Tips

Family camping at a KOA is such a fun family vacation. It takes some work, but the better prepared you are beforehand, the easier it will be on everyone. I recommend sticking as closely to your child’s ore children’s normal schedule as much as possible (naptimes, meal times, bedtimes, etc.). Make yourself a list well ahead of your trip. You will inevitably think of things to add leading up to the trip. Write them down. Use your master list to pack, and take it on the trip with you. There are always things that are forgotten, or that you’d have liked to have. You can add them to the list as they come up, and then once the trip is done, save the list for future trips.

This is a great and an inexpensive way to get away and make family memories for years to come. We just booked our trip for this upcoming summer, and when I told my now 3-year-old, he remembered our trip last year. He immediately started talking about the water slide and the boats, and finding sticks for the fire. He already can’t wait for our next trip!

family camping at KOA campfire

Maybe it’s time to take my family camping at a KOA…

Please make sure to check out Lisa’s website at and give her some love for writing this awesome guest post for me!  I may be thinking about a KOA trip sometime in the near future…

Have you ever taken your family camping at a KOA before?  I’d love to hear about your experiences!  Comment below!

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Michele C.

    I like the cabin option. I couldn’t do it without one. Not my thing!

    1. Taryn

      Me either!!

  2. Melissa

    This post makes me miss summer even more lol it’s so cold here in Canada!!

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